Need Help?

1997 Pontiac Grand Prix GT 2dr Coupe

1997 Pontiac Grand Prix
Trim Info:
Front Wheel Drive, 2 Door Coupe GT, Mid-Size
19 mpg city / 30 mpg hwy
Other Trims
Do you own this car?
Estimated Mileage
 Miles
Enter current mileage for most
accurate info about this vehicle


Track Your Service Records
Get Recall Alerts
Get Updated Value Estimates on Your Car.

back to question list

Ask the Community

Ask Our Auto Mechanics


April 5, 2011, 7:29 pm

AutomotiveForums M
 

Question: What is the life span of a thermostat?

1997 Grand Prix - V6 - 3.8L - 160k miles. Had thermostat replaced on 1/27/2010. Recently (4/1/11) took car to Midas for oil change and inspection and was told that the water pump was leaking and car needed tune-up. I was told over the phone that the thermostat also needed to be replaced b/c of the leaky water pump. I informed them that it was just replaced 15 mos. ago. Anyways, they did replace the thermostat and I am trying to confirm whether or not this sounds logical with regards to the defective water pump.

Thank you!
Margorilla


April 6, 2011, 3:56 pm

Elizabeth K
Expert Mechanic

There was no need to replace the water pump if it was just replaced, unless it was faulty. A bad water pump does not indicate that you needed a thermostat. The part is usually about $8-$13, and the labor was probably close to zero, since the coolant was out of the system for the water pump job.

The shop could have changed it out of habit--since it would be doing most customers a service. But the charge should have been minimal. If you did not authorize the repair, they are not allowed to charge you more than 10% over their original estimate. If the repair added anything significant to the bill, I would argue that it was unnecessary.


1/1 users found this helpful.

April 8, 2011, 6:35 pm

AutomotiveForums M
 

Thank you, Elizabeth.
Just to be more specific since I believe my message was not very clear. The water pump was not previously replaced. I was concerned about the average life span of a thermostat and wondered if a leaking water pump would affect the thermostat.
However, you have answered my question, thanks.

FYI - It cost approx. $110 for the thermostat (labor & part) and they replaced the water pump, as well. This is the third thermostat in just over three (3) years.

I took the car in for an oil change and asked for an inspection, as well. The invoice that I signed when the car was first taken in was filled out by the cashier and she apparently checked DO NOT RETURN PARTS (after the fact) as I would have requested if I knew they were going to do further service. I was not made aware of this, or I would not have signed it. It is also a policy at MIDAS that...QUOTE: "Any parts with a core value that are returned to the customer will result in an additional charge."

What is that about?


0/0 users found this helpful.

April 12, 2011, 5:06 pm

Elizabeth K
Expert Mechanic

That was a typo on my end, the first 'water pump' should have read 'thermostat'. Did they charge you an additional $110 for the thermostat that wasn't bad and you didn't give permission for--while they already had the coolant drained for the water pump? That does sound like a rip-off to me.

Was it less than 10% over the original estimate that you signed? If so, contact your state's District Attorney, they usually file can file a claim with a business on your behalf (for free).

For the checked box thing, yes she should have asked, but as you probably know, you should never sign something without reading it.

The additional charge: some parts have a 'core charge' (like brake shoes, alternators, etc). This means that when you go to purchase the parts, the part store will charge you a fee, and refund it to you when you bring them back the old part. They then send this back to the remanufacturer, who rebuilds it and sells it again. If you don't return the old part, you don't get the core charge back. Sometimes it is pretty hefty.

But if you want to see the parts that the shop has removed, just ask to view them. As long as you don't keep them (and keep them from returning them for credit) you shouldn't be charged. If you are, find a different mechanic.


0/0 users found this helpful.

Ask our panel of certified auto mechanics a question. We pay for their advice so you don't have to



My Auto Score

See the free AutoCheck score

Meet The Experts
Kim Perrin
Kim Perrin is our resident mechanic here at DriverSide. Kim worked as…
Tyler Orr
Tyler Orr is an expert in German and Japanese cars and has been a mechanic …
Elizabeth Kriesten
Elizabeth Kriesten worked as an automotive technician for several years at Dodge…
Tips on Servicing

Car Brakes: How Do You Know When to Change Them?

By Zach Bowman For those who suffer a daily commute through heavy traffic, your vehicle's braking system can bring thousands of pounds of metal, plastic and empty Starbucks cups to a stop hundreds of times before you get to work. It goes without saying that these pieces wear out, but they do so slowly, meaning you may not notice they need attention until ...

Read more…